Anorak News | Covering Its Tracks

Covering Its Tracks

by | 16th, July 2004

‘DON’T worry, the Government’s famous integrated transport policy has not been derailed permanently – just delayed for a few decades.

‘I think they got so hungry waiting to move, they all ate each other, guv’

The ten year plan to make the trains better has been replaced, as the Times says, by the new plan to make trains simply run on time.

This new mission will be undertaken with a less than Teutonic zeal since Alistair Darling, the Transport Secretary, wants to make just 90% of trains run to timetable.

Those passengers unlucky enough to take a trip on one of the one in ten trains allowed to come and go as they please are advised to pack a decent lunch, a flask of hot soup and tell friends and family of your plans and how much you love them.

What’s more, the cunning new plan will mean that train companies will not be permitted to just roll out extra services to ferry their disgruntled customers around, but will have to pack more passengers onto existing services.

The Government has seen the figures and noticed that on carriage 2B of the 7:54 service from Newbury to Paddington there is enough air for one small boy or one large rodent to survive – and until this carriage is utterly full, no new services will be implemented.

And there is more, and the Telegraph heard Darling say yesterday that the Strategic Rail Authority, the organisation set up by John Prescott just four years ago with the directive to regulate the rail companies, is to be scrapped.

Its powers should, according to yesterday’s published White Paper, be passed to Whitehall.

Network Rail will take over the SRA’s running of timetables and line assessment, and safety issues will transfer from the Health and Safety Executive to the Office of the Rail Regulator.

Of course, as with all rail transfers, things are tight and connections may be missed.

So the 500 pen-pushers relocating from the SRA to the NR or ORR are advised to allow plenty of time for their journey and to drive or walk to their new offices, lest they be late or never arrive at all…’

Posted: 16th, July 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink